We all want to have a great day out with our dogs, and it’s made even better when we find a venue that welcomes us with ‘open paws’ !
To create a welcoming Dog Friendly venue there is more to it than simply putting out a dog water bowl!
As a guideline for best practice venues should have in place the following:
Large water bowl (replenished frequently as required)
Small water bowl (replenished frequently as required)
Dog Treats and Dog Food available as treats or to purchase
Dogs Welcome sign
Hand Sanitising gel in a dispenser on display
A policy for dog owners to read and adhere to on display
For extra brownie points, venues could consider the following:
A Pet Parking sign where leads can be attached
A Dog Food and treat menu
Wholesome nutritious dog food and treats
Trained staff to ensure a warm welcome to dogs and their owners
NB: As the business owner/manager of a venue, if a dog is disruptive and barking all the time, you have every right to ask the owner and dog to leave the premises, in the same way if a human is verbally or physically abusive. Dog owners should be responsible at all times.
For more information on best practice and guidelines, Belfast City Council have created a set of guidelines:-
Food Safety Guidance for dog friendly businesses
Food Safety Legislation doesn’t stop the presence of dogs in customer areas of food premises. However dogs aren’t allowed in areas where food is prepared, handled or stored. Food Hygiene Rating should not be affected provided businesses take appropriate action and make precautions to prevent contamination of food.
Food businesses must have proper procedures in place to prevent dogs contaminating food or food utensils and should consider the following:
- Dogs should not be allowed in areas where food is prepared, handled or stored.
- Staff should not touch dogs or handle materials that have been in contact with dogs.
- Food staff must wash their hands immediately if they have direct or indirect contact with dogs.
- Restrict dogs to parts of the premises to ensure hygiene standards are maintained.
- Materials or objects that have been in contact with dogs, including dog bowls, should not be brought into food areas and should not be cleaned in food equipment or utensil sinks.
- Any dog fouling must be immediately and thoroughly cleaned with disposable materials and disinfectant. This must be followed by thorough staff hand washing.
Good practice for dog friendly restaurants
- Customers with dogs should be approached by a staff member to find out if they are there for drinks or drinks and food.
- Dog owners are informed of house rules of dogs on premises, these may include that dogs:
- are kept on a lead at all times.
- only allowed in certain areas of the premises.
- will remain the responsibility of the owner at all times.
- Have dog bowls available for water and food.
- Dog food available to buy on premises.
- Have procedures in place for cleaning up accidents. Responsibility of the owner followed by a member of staff thoroughly cleaning the area with hot water and disinfectant.
- Food staff including waiters should not handle dogs or materials that have been in contact with dogs. Staff must wash their hands immediately if they have any contact with dogs.
- Consider the maximum number of dogs that can be accommodated at once, and the number of dogs allowed to be brought in by one person. Remember The Dogs (Specified Maximum) (Belfast) Order 2012.
It is also mandatory for all dogs in Northern Ireland to be registered with their local council:- For full details on dog licensing, please refer to the information which has been published on the NI Direct website.
It is an Offence not to licence a dog except:
- a puppy under six months old and kept by the person who was also the keeper of the bitch that gave birth to the puppy
- an assistance dog used by a disabled person
- a dog kept, and on offer for sale, in a licensed pet shop
- a police dog
- a dog kept under a block licence, on the premises to which the block licence relates
Domestic pet dogs must be licensed individually.
A dog licence costs £12.50. There are reduced licence fees for some dog owners.